On a whim a few months ago, I bought some silicon chocolate moulds for no good reason at all, other than the fact that they were cute. After all, who can resist love hearts? Especially on Valentines Day!
So, this last weekend I thought I should actually get my money’s worth out of the thing and endeavour to make some chocolates. There’s quite an art to making chocolate, particularly if you’re going the whole hog and tempering them. Well, personally I can’t be faffed with all that… What I wanted was chocolate I could make in minutes. That’s not too much to ask for, is it?
I got to thinking I’d like to make something at least half way healthy. I’ve made raw chocolate before, but its primary ingredient was coconut oil and as such, it needed to be refrigerated so that it wouldn’t melt. And, while it was totally delicious, this time I wanted to try making ‘real’ chocolate – you know, the stuff with actual cacao butter in it. The stuff that stays hard out of the fridge.
So, after looking online, I discovered that the recipe for raw ‘real’ chocolate is pretty generic – combine cacao butter, raw cacao powder, a sweetener and a dash of vanilla. Yep, simple as. No fussing about, no tempering. You can keep it plain, or you add whatever flavouring floats your boat. I added chilli to mine, which provided a very satisfying warm kick to the back of the throat.
I’m chuffed with the result – it may not be exactly akin to eating Cadburys, but it’s definitely in the ballpark and frankly a damn sight more healthy. Enjoy!
RAW DARK CHOCOLATES
Makes about 24-28 chocolates
- 1 cup raw cacao butter, melted
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup runny honey (or you can use maple syrup), to taste
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (don’t use the stuff with added alcohol, or the mixture may seize)
- Pinch of fine grain salt
- 1 cup raw cacao powder (or you can use good quality cocoa)
- Optional: Added flavourings or ingredients, to taste
- Set a clean, dry glass or Pyrex bowl on top of a small saucepan which has about an inch of water in it (making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl). Place the saucepan on the stove-top and set the heat to the lowest temperature.
- Grate the cacao butter and add to the bowl. Using a whisk, gently stir until the cacao butter has melted. NB: It’s helpful at this point to pour the oil into a measuring cup to ensure you have the required cup’s worth – you may need to add a little more grated cacao butter if you don’t have enough.
- Turn off the heat, then add the honey, vanilla and salt and whisk till thoroughly combined. Now, sift in the cacao powder, a little at a time, whisking as you go. Taste the mixture and ensure you’re happy with the balance of flavours.
- Add any additional flavourings or ingredients, if using, and whisk gently to combine.
- Take your silicon mould and place on a hard surface such as a tray, to keep it steady. Using a measuring spoon, ladle the mixture into the moulds one at a time (you can pour directly from the saucepan if you like, but it can be quite messy).
- Place the mould (still on the tray) into the fridge to allow the chocolate to set – this should take at least an hour or more, depending on the size of your moulds.
- Once set, unmould the chocolates and store them in a sealed container in a cool, dry place. NB: It’s important that the chocolates aren’t subjected to temperature fluctations or they may develop a whitish bloom.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Natural lighting